Yarmouth resident Anna Siegel, 16, already is making big waves in the fight against climate change.

Siegel, campaigns coordinator for Maine Youth Action Network and founding member of Maine Youth for Climate Justice, has been recognized for her “leadership and effectiveness” with a 2022 Natural Resources Council of Maine Brookie Award. The awards are given every two years to six Maine residents between 15 and 30 years old, and Siegel is the youngest awardee this time.

Anna Siegel has been named one of six Brookie Award winners for her climate justice advocacy work in Maine. Contributed / Anna Siegel

She first became interested in the natural world at just a few years old, when she developed a love of animal, she said, not just tigers and pandas, but even the birds in her own backyard.

“Wildlife is still my driving passion, but as I got more involved in environmental work, I learned about the real implications of the climate crisis and how it’s much more intersectional with people than I ever imagined,” Siegel said. “We need social justice in order to drive climate action.”

She is also a member of the Yarmouth Committee for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability and led a successful campaign to pass a bill in the Maine Legislature that requires the state to divest of its investments in the fossil fuel industry.

Siegel said the pandemic spurred her to pursue her work through the  Legislature. With COVID-19 restrictions, she could no longer organize climate strikes and marches, so she had to find a new way to accomplish her work.


“Legislative action had always seemed like a confusing world from afar, but once I learned the ropes with the help of other volunteers, I dove in,” she said. “My work in the Legislature was focused on grassroots advocacy, so coalition building, public outreach and amplifying support,” Siegel said.

The divestiture bill, LD 99, was signed into law last year.

“Now we have to actually implement it and make sure they follow through,” Siegel said.

Siegel said she and her colleagues plan on advising youth in other New England states to pursue bills to enact similar policies.

“I’d heard about Anna’s climate advocacy for many years,” said Todd Martin, director of NRCM Rising, which awards the Brookies.  “In 2020, she was one of the first people I thought about to reach out to and encourage to apply, but she wasn’t at the age minimum yet, which I think speaks volumes about how committed Anna has been as such a young person for so many years.

“She is really a leader in the youth climate movement here in Maine and has been for a while. The selection committee was incredibly impressed with her,” Martin said.


Carol Titterton, Siegel’s chemistry teacher at Waynflete in Portland, said she is a top science student  and is “fully committed to learning everything she can about science and how the world works; her work ethic is remarkable.”

The six Brookie Award winners will be honored at an in-person ceremony and reception July 14 at O’Maine Studios in Portland. Each will receive a $2,000 cash prize as well as training in public speaking and speech writing to help further their advocacy work.

“I’m so excited to meet the other awardees; the other amazing young people in Maine who have done this similar work,” Siegel said. “We all have the same end goal: a livable and equitable future for all, but we all do this in different ways. I’m excited to learn from them, specifically some of the folks who do conservation work, which is what I hope to go into in the future.”

This summer, Siegel plans to lead a study on the impacts of climate change on Maine’s boreal birds.

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